Russian Proton Rocket Sends Satellite Into Orbit in Christmas Eve Launch

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos sent a new satellite into orbit in a dazzling Christmas Eve launch today (Dec. 24). It’s mission: to study Earth’s weather from above. 

A Proton rocket launched the new satellite, called Electro-L 3, into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:03 a.m. EST (1203 GMT), though it was 3:03 p.m. in the afternoon at the spaceport in Central Asia. 

Related: The Greatest Spaceflight Moments of 2019
How Russia’s Proton Rocket Works (Infographic)

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A Russian Proton-M rocket launches the Electro-L 3 weather satellite into orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on Dec. 24, 2019. (Image credit: CC Yuzhny/Roscosmos)

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Engineers prepare Russia’s Electro-L 2 geostationary weather satellite for launch in December 2019. (Image credit: NPO Lavochkina/Roscosmos)

The Electro-L 3 satellite is the third weather observatory of its kind for Russia’s Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (known as Rosgidromet). The spacecraft is a geostationary satellite designed to track weather over one specific part of Earth for Russian weather officials. 

The first Electro-L satellite (No. 1) launched in 2011, with the second following in 2015. 

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